Everyone said that this year’s draft started with the third pick. And when the Blackhawks opted for center Kirby Dach, everyone’s draft orders were all shaken up. With Bowen Byram off the board to the Avalanche, the Kings had a whole wealth of scoring forwards to chose from.
Their ultimate selection? Alex Turcotte from the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP).
Born: February 26, 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Lake Island, Illinois, USA
Weight: 185 lbs.
2019-20 Team: University of Wisconsin / NCAA - 19/20
#4—NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (North American Skaters)
What’s the deal?
Depending on when you asked, and when they wrote their draft list, Alex Turcotte was going to go as high as number three — to his hometown Chicago Blackhawks — or as low as 10. With no clear consensus order after the first two picks, the draft became more about what needs you’re trying to meet with your team.
The Kings, who have looked weaker at center in recent years, have been drafting heavily in that position to try to bolster the ranks there. And while some of those players may wind up on the wing as they adapt to the pro game, having players with the skill and versatility to play down the middle is key.
Turcotte projects as a top-six center, someone who can help drive play for the Kings for years to come.
While there’s no one aspect of his game that truly jumps out as better than the rest, Turcotte has an especially well-rounded game. He’s a player who isn’t afraid to be physical if needed, but who also has the hands and skating skill to go around a defender rather than through them.
Turcotte already has a very well-developed 200-foot game and is very comfortable running a power play. He has a knack for finding his teammates to get them the puck, but he’s also no stranger to scoring himself. Turcotte put up 62 points in 37 games with the USNTDP, despite missing time due to first a hip injury at the beginning of the season and later a bout of mononucleosis.
Turcotte was described by USNTDP U18 coach John Wroblewski as “sandpaper and silk.” compared to a player like Brad Marchand for his pest-like attributes, who still has the skating ability and hands to make a difference on the scoresheet, as well.
There are no glaring weaknesses in Turcotte’s game, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him spend only one or two years at college — he’s committed to the University of Wisconsin — before turning pro.
Highlights & Notes
“Let’s put him as a mixture between Jonathan Toews & Brayden Point.”— Stephen Nelson (@StephenNelson) June 22, 2019
I asked Alex Tanguay on @NHLNetwork for his scouting report of #LAKings #NHLDraft pick, Alex @Turcotte__71. pic.twitter.com/oSCixYGRDX
"I'm just so excited and I'm happy they believe in me... I can't wait to get started with the LA Kings!" - Alex Turcotte on being drafted No. 5 overall pic.twitter.com/k3z0AuHC5P— LA Kings (@LAKings) June 22, 2019